Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Highlights from the October 4, 2017 School Board Meeting

Published on: 10/4/2017

​​Graduation Rate Sets a New Record!
The Georgia Department of Education has released SY 2016-17 graduation rates for the state of Georgia. SCCPSS improved its cohort graduation rate by more than one point over last year – rising from 83.2% to 84.3% and established a new record high for the district. This also places the district ahead of the state average for the third year in a row!  

Naming of the Garrison Performance Hall – Yamacraw Center for the Performing Arts 
Policy FDC, Naming Facilities, states that "before adopting a name for a facility, the name shall be presented to the Board at one meeting and voted on by the Board at the next meeting." A team was appointed by the Superintendent to provide three proposed names for the new performing arts addition constructed at the Esther F. Garrison School for the Arts. The following proposed names were presented at the September 6, 2017, School Board meeting:

1. Yamacraw Center for the Performing Arts

2. Garrison Performing Arts Center

3. Ben Tucker Performing Arts Center

The Yamacraw Indians were the original settlers of the Savannah area before James Oglethorpe arrived and negotiated with Tomochichi and the Yamacraw to move their village up river. The Board adopted the recommended name at the October 4th Board Meeting. 

Hurricane Irma Impacts Reviewed!

At the Informal Session Wednesday, Board members received an update on the affect Hurricane Irma had on District Operations. SCCPSS played a vital role in assisting the community with evacuation and emergency operations, in addition to planning and implementing the shutdown and re-opening of more than 55 school sites and facilities.

SCCPSS buses were used to evacuate thousands of Chatham County residents. STEM Academy @ Bartlett provided the Southside Fire Department use of the gym for housing & staging for critical workforce. The Pt. Wentworth Police Department used Mercer Middle School as a staging area. Groves High School was used as a temporary shelter; and the Woodville-Tompkins Annex served as Joint Operations Center.

Inspections of our facilities after the storm passed generated 464 storm related work orders, reports of 71 trees damaged, and required the replacement of over 668 ceiling tiles. Once repairs were completed and power restored to our facilities - environmental testing was completed. In addition, all buses were cleaned and sanitized before school resumed on Monday, September 18, 2017.

Some food had to be discarded due to spoilage at sites that lost power. Overtime was paid to staff that worked throughout the storm or in the recovery period to prepare schools for staff and student return. Total cost to the district was $892,297.11 of which FEMA reimbursed $787,915.93, leaving a cost to SCCPSS of $104,381.18. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of every employee who assisted in the evacuation and reopening of our school district! 

Sharing the Good News!

Superintendent’s Student of the Month for September was announced as 1st grader Yasli Mazariegos of Largo-Tibet Elementary School!

State Superintendent Student Advisory Council - Three SCCPSS students have been selected to be part of State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ 2017-2018 Student Advisory Council. Throughout the school year, these students will meet with Superintendent Woods to discuss the impact of state policies in the classroom. The SCCPSS students chosen are:

Bernard Bentley of Hesse K8 – 8th Grade
Alivia Rukmana of Savannah Arts Academy – 11th Grade
Claire Few of Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School – 11th Grade

SCCPSS School Nutrition Program Wins Multiple Awards - The SCCPSS School Nutrition Program has been named a Best Practice Award Winner by the Georgia USDA and a USDA Regional Winner for 2017 in the category of Promoting a Healthy School Environment. In addition – the District’s School Nutrition Program has once again been recognized with a Golden Radish Award at the Silver level for our Farm to School efforts! 

Million Book Challenge Donations!
Two donations to the District’s Million Book Challenge were announced. Georgia Power has donated $1,000. Ms. Swan Seiler was at the Board Meeting to present a check to the Superintendent. An anonymous donation of $3,200 was also announced – the first of three installments to add up to $9,600 towards purchasing classroom libraries for our schools! 

Student and Professional Senate Reports! 
Reports from our Student Senate as well as from our Teacher of the Year and Instructional Support Person of the Year were presented.

Student Report: This month the student report was given by 12th Grader De’Asia Wilson and 11th Grader Damyia Albury or Groves High School.

Professional Report:

Celebrating Your Work!

School Bus Driver Appreciation! 
Savannah-Chatham County Public School bus drivers are a vital part of our public school system traveling over four-million miles each year as they transport more than 25,000 students each day to and from school and school sanctioned activities. The Board of Public Education for the City of Savannah and County of Chatham does hereby proclaim the week of October 16th - 20th, 2017, as the observance of School Bus Safety Week and October 16th, 2017, as School Bus Driver Appreciation Day in recognition of the contribution drivers and other school transportation staff make to our public education system, and we encourage all citizens to recognize school bus drivers and support program staff for the services they provide.

National School Lunch Week! 
The week of October 9-13, 2017, has been proclaimed National School Lunch Week within the District and all residents are encouraged to become aware and concerned about their children’s and their own nutrition habits in hope of achieving a more healthful citizenry for today and for the future.

National Custodial Workers Day! 
Educational Support Professionals who are custodial workers provide a clean environment for students to learn in, while those in maintenance departments provide safe surroundings for students and staff alike. The Board of Public Education for the City of Savannah and County of Chatham, recognizes and proclaims October 2, 2017, as the National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day.

Policy Adoptions!

Board Policy BA: Update of Strategic Goals has been modified to align the goals with the changes to DAS-REMI.

The current strategic goals are as follows:

GOAL 1: To Ensure all Students are College and Career Ready.

GOAL 2: To Provide a Supportive Learning Environment that is Conducive to Teaching and Learning.

GOAL 3: To Maximize Family and Community Engagement that Contributes to the Advancement of Student Success.

GOAL 4: To Build Professional Capacity in Order to Achieve a Premier Student-Focused Workforce.

GOAL 5: To Maximize Resource Stewardship and Fiscal Responsibility by Ensuring District Resources are Used Efficiently, Effectively, Economically, and Equitably

Policy IHB - Homework Board Policy IHB: Homework is being revised to include changes to homework requirements for grades K-2. Homework for grades K-2 will not be counted for grading purposes. 

Policy DJE: Purchasing has been modified to update the competitive process requirements. Competitive Pricing for purchases ranging in dollar amount from $0 - $2499 – can now be determined by ABC Book; valid statewide contract; or two (2) written quotations which may include catalog or website pricing if pricing cannot be obtained from ABC Book awarded vendors.

From $2,500 to $29,999 - ABC Book; valid statewide contract; or three (3) to five (5) written quotations obtained and filed by Purchasing Department.

$30,000 and up - ABC Book; valid statewide contract; sealed bid or Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

**Sites may continue to purchase up to $4,999 in commodities such as office supplies and library books by listing awarded Bid/RFP numbers.  

Charter Renewal! The Board voted to approve the Charter Renewal Petition for Coastal Empire Montessori Charter School. It establishes a 5-year charter term serving students in grades K-5.

Capital Improvements! 
The Board received an update on Capital Improvement projects and ESPLOST fund collections. As of July – $42,880,889.60 has been received from ESPLOST III – representing seven months of 60 in ESPLOST III funding. There are a number of Capital Improvements underway at many of our schools. These include:

Beach High Field House
Savannah Arts Window Replacement
ADA renovations at Windsor Forest High, STEM Academy @ Bartlett
Islands High Greenhouse Addition
Windsor Forest High Construction Lab
School of Liberal Studies at Savannah High Culinary Arts Lab
Woodville Tompkins Hospitality Lab
Re-roofing at a number of facilities

Plus much more! Read the full report here!

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